Post offices “increasingly relied upon” for access to banking

From Citizens Advice Bureau
A new report highlights the growing role of the post office network in providing access to cash. The IPPR comments that as ATMs and bank branches close, increasing numbers of consumers are being pushed towards alternative providers, such as the Post Office. However, the think tank warns that with fewer consumers withdrawing cash, the costs of maintaining cash infrastructure are shared across a shrinking pool of transactions.

The IPPR calls for an extended banking levy to include the full range of major payment and financial service providers, and says the government should legislate for a universal service obligation on cash access. The IPPR proposes amixed approach to meeting local banking needs. Building on existing Post Office banking services, the think tank recommends the creation of a government owned Post Bank providing affordable basic banking services to all citizens.

The IPPR also recommends the retail banks should expand shared banking hubs for personal and business banking. Separately, LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network, has announced banks and building societies have agreed an extra £4 million additional funding for ATMs. The news follows last autumn’s launch of a request a free-to-use ATM service for communities in areas where people find it hard to access cash. LINK reports that over 2,700 community requests for an ATM have been received
since October.

Awareness with Action Reduces Exploitation

The event will be free and open to any member of the public. InVOLve are hoping to have guest speakers on all topics we are focusing on. These include, County lines, Child Exploitation, Modern Day Slavery, Domestic Abuse, Human Trafficking, Domestic Servitude and Knife Crime. To sign up please click here:

Community Organisers in Berkshire

At CCB, we have been considering how we can provide more frequent opportunities to bring people together across Berkshire to learn more about community consultation, engagement and empowerment and to offer opportunities for learning, networking and peer support. One way that we can do this is by setting up a Local Organising Group for Berkshire. The following information is from the Community Organisers Ltd website:

Local Organising Groups comprise of a minimum 21 members (of Community Organisers), who have come together to facilitate the use of community organising principles and practice, to tackle issues that matter most to them. The group works together, listening to their community, building their collective power and developing community-led solutions. Local Organising Groups underpin the community organising practice already happening within communities across England. The groups ensure that priorities for actions directly emerge from our neighbourhoods. This guarantees that Community Organisers continues to remain authentic – acting locally and nationally on issues that people care about.

We are in the process of establishing a group called Community Organisers Berkshire. The first step in achieving this is to encourage as many people as we can to become a member of Community Organisers. Membership is free and the application form can be completed online. The link to the website is below and I’d like to encourage you all to sign up, as well as to share this invitation with friends and colleagues.

The Local Organising Group for Berkshire will have a constitution, an Organising Action Plan and an annual programme of events. Our vision for Community Organisers Berkshire is for it to become a vibrant and growing community of people that act on the issues that are important to them and their communities. We will commit to providing regular opportunities to bring people together to develop new skills, hear about how other communities work and to share experiences and concerns.

You can read more about the benefits of joining Community Organisers and complete the application form here: If you have any questions about this, or have ideas for how the Local Organising Group for Berkshire could support you in your work within your community, please get in touch.

Tim Parry

New: FREE Funding Workshop in West Berkshire. Book your place now!

In order to better support the sector two respected charities,  Volunteer Centre West Berkshire and Connecting Communities in Berkshire (CCB) have teamed up to provide a comprehensive Voluntary Sector Training Partnership. We are excited to work together  to provide  training opportunities that are right for the voluntary and community sector here in West Berkshire. 

Garry Poulson and Tim Parry

Are you a community group, charity or voluntary organisation looking for funding in 2020?

CCB is facilitating a FREE Funding Workshop providing information, useful tips and advice on available funding streams in West Berkshire. The training is aimed at charities, community groups, parish councils and voluntary organisations who are looking for a range of funding streams to improve their community buildings, village, neighbourhood or parish.

Date: Thursday 19th March, 10am – 12pm, Calcot Centre, RG31 4XD

We have excellent speakers currently lined up they are:

Elisha Russell, Community Liaison Officer from Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF). Berkshire Community Foundation gives charitable organisations in Berkshire the opportunity to apply for life-changing grants. Elisha will be giving an overview of current and future funding opportunities available through BCF and tips on how to improve your chances of success. She will also look at available funding from BCF that particularly focuses on overcoming loneliness and isolation.

Julian May, Head of Business Development from the Good Exchange. Julian will be explaining the criteria for the Good Exchange, a fundraising platform which allows you to access multiple funders, donors and fundraisers with a single application, how groups can register and guiding you through the process of how to get the most out of your application. He will be able to give useful examples of local fundraising successes and also give information on additional training that may support your organisation/group/event promote yourselves thus improving your fundraising ability.

Rachel Peters, Community Development Officer from Sovereign Community Funding. Sovereign is one of the largest housing associations in the country, providing 58,000 quality, affordable homes across the south of England, for people priced out of the housing market. But the organisation’s work doesn’t stop at the front door, as £3m a year is invested in its communities, helping people – and their neighbourhoods – to flourish.

Sara Hanson, Volunteer Sector Support Officer at Volunteer Centre West Berkshire. VCWB provides free impartial information advice and guidance about volunteering in West Berkshire. Sara is an experienced bid writer, evaluator and trainer. Sara will be covering general useful hints and tips to consider when preparing funding forms & applications.

Kate Meads, Community Buildings Advisor at Connecting Communities in Berkshire. Kate will provide information on funding opportunities available to those that may be responsible for managing community buildings and assets – village hall, places of worship, community pubs & shops, scout huts etc.

With more TBC!

This workshop is free to attend but places are limited and booked on a first come, first served basis. This training is supported by West Berkshire Council Adult Community Learning. TO BOOK YOUR PLACE PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK :

Great British Spring Clean 2020

Keep Britain Tidy are running a national campaign from 20th March to 13th April to encourage people to pick up litter and be involved in the country’s biggest mass-action environmental campaign.

This campaign is something that CCB fully supports and we encourage communities in Berkshire to take part. Last year 560,000 people in the UK took part and they are aiming for over 600,000 to join in this year.

Taking part will help towards not only help to transform the UK for better by keeping streets clean and protecting wildlife but also, you will help stop damaging materials entering the ocean which is ultimately causing worldwide pollution.

By heading to the Keep Britain Tidy website you can host a clean-up or join one near you. There are a number of resources available to enable you to host such as risk assessment forms, email templates and social media packs.

There are also awards for a variety of categories during the campaign. Awards such as ‘Most bags collected during the campaign period’, ‘Outstanding contribution to the Great British Spring Clean’ and ‘Best Team Effort’ as well as many more are up for grabs so be sure to check out what you could win by taking part.

If you would like to find out more then click here.